Insiders differ on Luck vs. RG3

March, 23, 2012
3/23/12
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Our Insiders differ on Andrew Luck as the clear cut No. 1 pick in the draft

Todd McShay was at Luck’s Thursday workout at Stanford and gave us a very clear explanation Insider of how he differed from Robert Griffin III a day earlier at Baylor.
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One thing in particular that stood out was Luck's elite ball placement. On the 45 scripted throws that could be considered accurate, all were either perfectly placed or within inches of being perfect. He was throwing to where his receivers needed to be, and they were following the ball rather than Luck following their route and throwing to the target. In a game scenario you would have said he was throwing his receivers open.

For example, on a rollout toward the sideline to his left, Luck threw a ball to TE Coby Fleener that was low and away, forcing Fleener to go down and get it, and that was no accident. In live action it would have been away from a trailing defender in a place where only Fleener could make the catch.

That consistency is one of the things that separated Luck's workout from that of Baylor's Robert Griffin III a day earlier. Griffin threw the ball accurately for the vast majority of his workout Wednesday, but he missed within the strike zone more often. He had a dozen or so throws that could be characterized that way, and while he was consistently hitting his targets, Griffin was not always on the bull's-eye like Luck.

But while McShay is standing firm on Luck over Griffin, K.C. Joyner offered a piece with 10 reasons Insider why Griffin is the better guy for the No. 1 pick.

Here is reason No. 3:
RG3 had better stats when not throwing to his top target

Some have argued that the reason Griffin III had better downfield numbers is because he was able to throw to Kendall Wright, a speed merchant whom Mel Kiper and Todd McShay both have listed as a late first-rounder in their most recent mock drafts.

The issue in taking this tack is that Griffin III actually had better vertical numbers when throwing to someone other than Wright last year.

RG3's vertical numbers on passes to Wright: 45 targets, 693 yards, 15.4 vertical YPA (VYPA)

RG3's vertical numbers on passes to other players: 70 targets, 1,146 yards, 16.4 VYPA

Luck was the exact opposite in that his vertical totals dropped off dramatically when not throwing to his best vertical target (tight end Coby Fleener):

Luck's vertical numbers on passes to Fleener: 29 targets, 533 yards, 18.4 VYPA

Luck's vertical numbers on passes to other players: 99 vertical targets, 1,167 yards, 11.8

Bill Polian, now an ESPN analyst, has indicated while both will be great, Colts owner Jim Irsay prefers Luck.

I think it’s pretty much a done deal.

If you were choosing, what would you do?

Hit the poll.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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